Europe clears first airline satellite navigation operation

by Staff Reporter | July 10th, 2012

Image courtesy Redorbit

Europe is rolling out operational service of its satellite-based aircraft navigation system EGNOS, stated an official with Britain’s largest air traffic control agency speaking to Reuters.

The system, which makes use of GPS signals to guide aircraft to the runway, is reportedly useful when visibility is limited

An 18-passenger aircraft serving the island of Aurigny, located off the French coast of Normandy, is the first to be outfitted and certified to use the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, or EGNOS.

The system, which makes use of GPS signals to guide aircraft to the runway, is reportedly useful when visibility is limited.

“We’re now at the point where we’re beginning to land aircraft from space from satellite navigation,” Ken Ashton, head of navigation architecture at NATS, said during a briefing at the Farnborough International Air show.

Similar systems are being developed in the United States, Japan, India and Russia. So far, just one of Aurigny Air Services Group’s Trislander airplanes has been outfitted and certified to use the EGNOS system.

“This is the first certified operation in Europe for satellite navigation approaches to land,” Ashton said. Aurigny Air Services, which provides the only commercial flight services to the island, plans to upgrade the rest of its fleet.┬áNext to sign up are Scotland’s Loganair and Hebridean and the UK’s Skybus.

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